January 9, 2021

A passenger plane carrying 56 passengers and six crew members lost contact shortly after taking off from Indonesia's capital Jakarta on Saturday.

The Sriwijaya Air flight went missing over the Java Sea while en route to Pontianak, the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. The plane "lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about four minutes after departure," tracking service Flightradar24 said on its Twitter feed. Indonesia's transport ministry said search and rescue efforts are underway.

The plane is reportedly a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500, which should not be confused with the 737 MAX model that was involved in two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019, respectively, before being grounded worldwide. Per BBC, airlines generally prefer to fly newer aircraft, but it's not uncommon for a plane that old to still be in service. The model reportedly has a strong safety record, though Indonesia's aviation safety record has been questioned over the years, BBC notes. Read more at The Associated Press and BBC. Tim O'Donnell

November 2, 2020

At least one civilian was killed and several others injured in Vienna, police said, in what Austrian authorities believe was a terrorist attack.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Vienna police have said the attack appears to have been carried out by several gunmen at six different locations in close proximity to one another. One suspect has reportedly been shot and killed by law enforcement. A police officer is reportedly among the wounded.

One suspect is reportedly on the run, but there have not been any reports as to whether any others have been apprehended or are still at large.

The shooting took place in the vicinity of Vienna's central synagogue, which was closed at the time of the attack, leaving it unclear if the place of worship was targeted. Tim O'Donnell

October 31, 2020

Part of Lyon has been locked down by authorities after a Greek Orthodox priest was shot while closing his church in the French city on Saturday. Police are still searching for the alleged shooter who fled the scene. The priest, a Greek citizen, is being treated for life-threatening injuries in a local hospital, The Associated Press reports.

The motive behind the attack is unclear, and the French anti-terrorist unit is not investigating the shooting, though it does come at a heightened moment in France. Just two days ago, three people were killed at a Catholic Church by a knife-wielding man. French President Emmanuel Macron called that incident an "Islamist terrorist attack." Two weeks before that, a Parisian school teacher was beheaded by an 18-year-old man, who was reportedly angered by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class. Since then, the French government has said it will deploy soldiers to protect several sites across the country, including places of worship. Read more at BBC and The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

September 27, 2020

Fighting has broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the Armenian government has declared martial law and total military mobilization.

The neighboring nations, both former Soviet republics, have been mired in a decades-long standoff over the contested Nagorno—Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has a majority ethnic Armenian population that has been running its own affairs since Azerbaijani forces were pushed out during a war in the 1990s. A ceasefire was brokered in 1994, but there have been flare-ups since, and Sunday's escalation appears to be the worst since 2016, Al Jazeera reports.

Both sides have reported civilian deaths and blamed the other for instigating the fighting, while providing conflicting reports on how the clash has played out. The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan launched an attack on civilian settlements Sunday morning, and in response Armenia said it shot down two helicopters and three drones and destroyed three tanks. Azerbaijan only acknowledged that one helicopter had been lost while the crew survived, and a defense ministry spokesperson said several villages in Nagorno-Karabkh "which were under enemy occupation for many years have been liberated."

Russia, France, and the European Union were among the governments that have called for an end to the violence and an immediate return to the ceasefire and negotiations. Read more at BBC and Al Jazeera. Tim O'Donnell

September 6, 2020

One man was killed and five people were injured after a series of stabbings in Birmingham, United Kingdom, during the early hours of Sunday morning. A lot of uncertainty remains, but police said they are still hunting a single suspect.

Authorities also said the stabbings do not appear to be terrorism or gang related, adding that there were no links between the victims. But they did declare a "major incident," which describes any situation involving serious harm or a security risk to the public and means special arrangements are in place for all emergency services to work together, BBC notes.

A BBC reporter at the scene said the stabbings appear to have been spurred "by a major fight between large groups of people" in an area of Birmingham known for its busy night life. A witness who works as a club promoter in the area said she has seen "quite a lot of fights" there, but "nothing like tonight." Still, there's been no confirmation the events were directly connected. Read more at BBC and The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell

March 30, 2018

The U.S. military announced Friday that two coalition personnel had been killed by an improvised explosive device in Syria. Five more were injured. The casualties are the first known combat-related losses for the coalition this year, Reuters reported.

The U.S. did not specify whether those killed were American soldiers, simply stating they were members of the U.S. led coalition battling the Islamic State. The wounded personnel have been evacuated for further medical treatment.

The incident occurred Thursday night after a roadside bomb detonated, and while the U.S. did not specify where the explosion happened, the announcement came just hours after a Syrian official said a bomb exploded in the town of Manbij, near the Turkish border, Talking Points Memo noted. The U.S. said the incident is pending further investigation. Kimberly Alters

Update 10:02 a.m. ET: A Department of Defense official announced that one of the soldiers killed in the explosion Thursday was an American.

September 7, 2017

On Thursday, the consumer credit reporting company Equifax disclosed a cybersecurity breach that could affect as many as 143 million U.S. consumers — roughly 44 percent of the U.S. population.

The credit card numbers of roughly 209,000 consumers were accessed, as well as "certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers," Equifax said in a press release. Potentially leaked information includes names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, and possibly driver's license numbers.

Equifax discovered the breach July 29, and believes it had been vulnerable from mid-May through July. An investigation by an independent cybersecurity firm suggested that hackers "exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files," Equifax said.

"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do," Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard Smith said in a statement. "I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes."

The company is working with law enforcement as well as conducting a review of its security operations. Affected consumers are being alerted via mail.

Equifax shares have already fallen more than 5 percent. Becca Stanek

August 9, 2017

While President Trump tweets away on his non-vacation at his New Jersey golf club, a massive, inflatable chicken is looming over the White House. On Wednesday afternoon, a chicken sporting golden hair decidedly similar to that of Trump was spotted behind the presidential residence.

The chicken was apparently the work of protesters with an impeccable sense of humor. Becca Stanek

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